Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Southern Ranges; Mystery Creek to La Perouse & Return. 32km

3 Day/ 2 night trip- Tuesday 6 March to Thursday 8 March , 2018.

I used John Chapman's 'South West Tasmania' guidebook, sixth edition, 2017.
Pages 100 to 107 accurately describe the route my journey took and the maps are more than adequate if you are not heading off the defined path.

Finally back in 2018!  Has been a fantastic year so far; I have become a not so kick arse Jenga player...

Somehow another black dog has entered my life...3 of them now...

I have a some great new friends and of course I have been chugging up and down the hills and flitting around the coast down here in Tassie over a warm & dry Summer.  Magic days!

Moonlight Ridge and the walk over the Southern Ranges (as Chapman refers to the region) was my latest foray into the hills.  It was a chilled, lazy hike and I went as far as I pleased which wasn't much really. 
The weather was; S.P.E.C.T.A.C.U.L.A.R.

Lune River to Moonlight Creek campsite. 8km.

*Safari track rating; easy flat walking then up and over some blowdowns to Bullfrog. Through a braided pad and dead burnt out scrub to the tributary of Moonlight Creek. Not taxing but it gets far better the next day.

Map copied from Chapman's South West Tasmania, page 105.

Getting to the start of the hike: putter down the highway South from Hobart to Ida Bay, turn right onto South Lune Road a bit after the railway cafe place and cruise along the gravel road for about 4 kilometres.  When you see the World Heritage Area sign you take the next left hand turn and the carpark and walker registration booth is at the end of the track.

The trail is super easy for the first kilometre and forks a right at the Mystery Creek Cave sign to climb gently up to the ridgeline, passing long since cut tree stumps and various fungi specimens.

After passing a small doable campsite about 4km into the hike, the trail leads up onto more open country, the Moonlight Flats and the Bullfrog Tarns.  I was extremely fortunate to enjoy exquisite weather for this part of the world and as it was late in the day I stopped often and drunk in the surroundings.

Camp for the evening was in a muddy tangle of burnt out scrub near the Moonlight Creek tributary.  I was using a Tarptent Rainbow which being a single wall shelter wasn't really suitable for the amount of moisture in the air but whatever.  Very little animal life was spotted on this hike which was kind of unexpected but I guess the land has taken a beating with the fire that went through it.

Moonlight Creek campsite to Maxwell Ridge & La Perouse, campsite at Pigsty's. 11.5km

Next day the sun was blazing away and the hike turned scenic.  Very scenic!  Hills 1 to 4 as they are named are traversed on rocky open country and also skirted around through annoying scorparia and scrub.  The effort of getting up here to Moonlight  Ridge is more than worth it I reckon.  Federation Peak and all the bad boys can be spied lurking on the near horizon and Pindars Peak makes an appearance behind Maxwell Ridge.

I descended down to the Pigsty Ponds which is a really tranquil spot in between the sheer mountain side of Maxwell and La Perouse.  A nudey swim was had in one of the Resevoir Lakes.  Shit was it cold!  

I made my way up to Maxwell Ridge with the intention of hitting Ooze Lake for the night. Up over the rocky bulge a cairned trail winds and the views are stupendous when on the flat top.  

A fit looking lady & her bloke popped up on the ridge too and explained they were on a fast multi day hike out to Prion Beach on the South Coast Track.  I had a change of heart and decided I was enjoying my solitude and the Pigsty's looked sweet for the night.  I bailed off the top and dumped my pack at the track junction to Mt La Perouse.  A quick pumpy uphill wander had me on the impossibly flat summit staring off into the ocean.

Camp was a quiet one with not a breath of wind or bird call.

The following day I busted out the 14km back to the car in cracker weather and gorged myself silly in Hobart.  This wasn't a hard walk or an endurance event like I sometimes make them.  
I was totally mesmerised by the mountains and completely relaxed out.  I was lucky with the weather too!  Great trip and recommended to all.